Community Libraries Could Face Closure After Funding Stopped

Community libraries in Swindon are facing closure from June 2017, after the Council agreed to strip funding and the professional servicing of these libraries.

Under the new proposals, the Central Library will be staffed for 47.5 hours a week and Highworth, West Swindon and North Swindon will be staffed for 15 hours. If those other libraries wish to remain beyond 3 hours for 5 days a week, volunteers or another community organisation will have to step in.

The following libraries will lose all operational funding, which will mean their closure unless volunteers or another community organisation can run the libraries at no cost to the Council:

  •     Penhill
  •     Parks
  •     Even Swindon
  •     Liden
  •     Covingham
  •     Moredon Library
  •     Old Town
  •     Pinetrees
  •     Wroughton

There will now be a further period of consultation from 1st August to 30th September on the Conservative administration’s library cutbacks.

The Labour Group have condemned the likely library closures as another effect of government austerity together with wasteful council spending.

The Labour Group’s Shadow Lead for Libraries, Councillor Jim Robbins, said:

“This decision from the Conservative administration will have massive implications for library users across Swindon. Despite instigating a public consultation where almost all the 2688 people who responded said they wanted to keep Swindon’s library services, the Tory Cabinet ignored their message and are pulling funding from most libraries anyway. What was the point in the consultation?

What’s also concerning is the areas that are likely to lose community libraries. Some of the town’s most deprived communities like Penhill and Parks are set to lose their libraries. How is the Council providing equal opportunities for people of all backgrounds and incomes when they are cutting back on services from our most deprived communities?

Despite their disregard of the results of the last consultation, I would still urge library users to respond to the upcoming consultation to show, if nothing else, that the Tory Cabinet is out of touch with how much residents value their library services.”